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A Recipe for Cookies

This month marks the 63rd anniversary of the publishing of the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, it might be interesting to take a look at what is currently the primary method used for tracking on the Internet, the Browser Cookie. Browser cookies are a subject with almost as much misinformation floating around as there is correct information.

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The Monetization of Privacy – Birth of a “Trust Economy”

Trust will be the most highly valued currency in a globally connected world. Those companies that earn their customers trust will be able to add significant value and at the same time monetize the data. It won’t be easy to accomplish but it all starts with understanding who owns the data.

The Facebook IPO finally happened last week and so did a new era for all Internet companies and the topic of privacy.  Facebook and others will have to increase their focus on growing their revenues to meet street expectations, and in the process, they will have to continue to innovate and monetize user information.   The concept of collecting and selling user information is not new, and as a matter of fact, retail stores like supermarkets have been doing this for years.  Every time you use your supermarket loyalty card, you are trading off privacy for coupons and discounts. As the article below points out, companies that collect information from places like supermarkets know about your religion, what books you read, how much education you have, your income and even your health condition, based on your supermarket shopping habits.  Literally, to buy adult diapers, you can be marked by these consumer information collection groups as someone who has a bladder-control problem.

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It’s Time to Have a Serious Conversation About Internet Privacy Laws

On Saturday, March 10, Jasmin Melvin published the story “Web Giants Face Battle Over ‘Do Not Track’, Other Consumer Privacy Legislation.” The U.S. government, and governments around the world, have their eyes set on Google, Apple, and Facebook and their current and future policies in regards to internet privacy laws. SOPA, or the Stop Online Piracy Act, was the legislature’s first major attempt at regulating the Internet, and web giants like Google and Wikipedia responded with a day of blackouts, generating “3.9 million tweets, 2,000 people a second trying to call their elected representatives, and more than 5,000 people a minute signing petitions opposing the legislation.” SOPA may have failed, but you can be sure it won’t be the last attempt at regulation. This week, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), plans to issue new recommendations for Internet privacy and data management policy.

You might think, “What’s the big deal, sure I want my privacy protected from Google, Facebook and the like, this is the United States of America.” Well, it’s not quite that simple. I agree, Google and Facebook can’t afford to get this one wrong: they would risk losing massive numbers of users who opt out, or choose new options that don’t track data or new features such as a “do not track” button. But decisions like this have massive consequences that go beyond personal privacy and data management. Read More »

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NCSAM Tip #4: The Hidden Data in JPG Photos

Digital photography has certainly brought considerable joy into the lives of millions of people around the world, but there are also security implications and they may be somewhat different than what many people believe. Many images, including JPGs, can contain metadata, data about the data in the image. To illustrate, I took a picture of the Ike cutout in front of my cube.

ike

Seems harmless enough, but let’s take a look at the EXIF data in this image.

I used http://regex.info/exif.cgi but there are other sites and apps that will let you view and/or manipulate EXIF data. Per regex.info here is some of the EXIF data:

Basic Image Information

Description: SAMSUNG
Camera: Samsung GT-I9000
Lens: 3.5 mm (Max aperture f/2.6)
Exposure: Auto exposure, Program AE, 1/13 sec, f/2.6, ISO 100
Flash: Off, Did not fire
Date: September 15, 2011 9:26:08AM
Location: 37° 24′ 30″N, 121° 55′ 39″WAltitude: 0 m
Timezone guess from earthtools.org: 8 hours behind GMT
File: 1,920 × 2,560 JPEG (4.9 megapixels)
1,542,855 bytes (1.5 megabytes) Image compression: 90%

Look, it put me correctly in Building 17.

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NCSAM Tip #1: Social Networking Safety

In today’s Cyber Security Awareness Month Tip of the Day we revisit a past post to once again focus on the fact that millions of individuals are victims of their own carelessness by freely posting information such as vacation plans and family photos on social networks, and by storing Personally Identifiable Information (PII) such as medical records and financial information on mobile devices. Users are sometimes not sufficiently educated when it comes to what types of information should be shared, and with whom they should be sharing this information.

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